Kevin Slowey Rumors

Minor Moves: Whiteside, Texeira, Slowey, Bell, Schlereth

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves from around the league right here…

  • Cubs backstop Eli Whiteside has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, reports Carrie Muskat of MLB.com (via Twitter). The 34-year-old, who saw only minimal action with the Cubs, was designated for assignment on Sunday.
  • The Braves have inked righty Kanekoa Texeira to a minor league deal, according to the MLB transactions page. The 28-year-old, who last threw in the bigs in 2011 with the Royals, threw effectively over each of the last two seasons at Triple-A with the Reds. He had been pitching for the independent Bridgeport Bluefish in 2014 before joining Atlanta.
  • Righty Kevin Slowey has been released by the Marlins, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (via Twitter). Slowey owned a 5.30 ERA through 37 1/3 innings this year, most of which came in relief. He had been a starter for much of his prior time as a big leaguer, and owns a 4.62 ERA over 662 career MLB frames.
  • The Yankees have released reliever Heath Bell, reports MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (via Twitter). Bell, who recently signed a minor league deal, had a 7.50 ERA in five appearances at Triple-A Scranton. In 17 1/3 frames at the major league level with the Rays this year, Bell threw to a 7.27 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.
  • The Tigers have acquired southpaw Daniel Schlereth from the Pirates, reports John Wagner of the Toledo Blade. James Schmel of MLive.com tweets that the Pirates will receive cash considerations. This will be Schlereth’s second stint with the Tigers, as he spent the 2010-12 seasons in Detroit’s bullpen after coming over in the three-team Max Scherzer/Curtis Granderson/Ian Kennedy/Austin Jackson blockbuster. Schlereth’s long-standing control problems have been very apparent this season at Triple-A; he’s walked 18 batters and surrendered 18 hits in 18 2/3 innings en route to a 7.23 ERA. On the plus side, he’s also fanned 18 hitters in that time.

Marlins Promote Heaney; Slowey, Wolf Designated For Assignment

The Marlins announced that they have designated right-hander Kevin Slowey and left-hander Randy Wolf for assignment as part of a series of roster moves. Additionally, Christian Yelich and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have been placed on the 15-day DL, and Donovan Solano has been optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Miami will recall right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, outfielder Jake Marisnick and first baseman Justin Bour. Most notably, top prospect Andrew Heaney will also be promoted to the Majors for the first time.

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins

Heaney (pictured) was the ninth overall selection in the 2012 draft and entered the season ranked as the game’s No. 30 prospect according to both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. MLB.com ranked the 23-year-old as the game’s No. 29 prospect, and ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him 34th entering the season.

Heaney has shredded minor league hitters this season, pitching to a 2.47 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 76 2/3 innings between Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans. Should he remain with the team through season’s end, he would accrue 106 days of Major League service time, meaning that he should fall well shy of Super Two status.

The former Oklahoma State ace has a fastball that sits in the low 90s and touches 95 mph regularly, per Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com. That plus heater is accompanied by a “wipeout” slider that Mayo and Callis grade as Heaney’s best pitch, as well as a changeup that the duo describes as a “good third pitch.” BA’s scouting reports notes that his fastball can reach 97 mph when he needs the heat, but Heaney has learned that he pitches with better command when throwing in the 91 to 93 mph range. BA also noted that holding runners has been a weakness for Heaney dating back to college (19 of 20 attempted base-stealers were successful against him in 2013), but he’s allowed just six steals in nine attempts in 2014.

The 37-year-old Wolf signed a Major League deal with the Marlins in May after opting out of his minor league deal with the Diamondbacks. He posted a 5.26 ERA with a strong 19-to-6 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings with the Fish, and his 87.7 mph fastball velocity wasn’t too far off his career mark of 88.2 mph. Wolf’s stint with the Marlins was his first Major League work since late 2012, as he missed last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Sabermetric ERA estimators such as FIP (4.33), xFIP (3.87) and SIERA (3.99) all feel that he was the victim of some poor luck.

Slowey, 30, posted similar numbers to Wolf, compiling a 5.30 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 37 1/3 innings. He, too, was the victim of a very lofty batting average on balls in play (.382), which no doubt contributed to his lofty ERA. Slowey has always been a soft-tossing fly-ball pitcher, but he has excellent command and a respectable 4.62 ERA in 662 career innings with the Twins and Marlins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Marlins Designate Brady, Bogusevic For Assignment

The Marlins have announced on Twitter they have designated right-hander Michael Brady and outfielder Brian Bogusevic for assignment. The team also announced they have purchased the contracts of outfielder Reed Johnson and right-hander Kevin Slowey.

Bogusevic, who is not yet arbitration eligible, was acquired from the Cubs last December for Justin Ruggiano. The 30-year-old slashed .273/.323/.462 in 155 plate appearances last year, but has a career line of .236/.313/.370 in 773 plate appearances. 

Brady, a 24th-round selection of the Marlins in the 2009 amateur draft, spent last season at Double-A Jacksonville making 49 trips out of the bullpen good for a 1.53 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 1.5 BB/9 in 53 innings.

Johnson and Slowey both signed minor league deals with the Marlins in January. With the Braves, Johnson struggled to a .244/.311/.341 line in just 136 plate appearances, leading the club to decline his $1.6MM option and instead pay him a $150K buyout. He was much better over the previous two seasons, however, combining to log 554 plate appearances while slashing .299/.342/.431. Slowey threw 92 1/3 innings for the Miami in 2013 and posted a 4.11 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, and a 28.7% ground-ball rate in 20 games (including 14 starts). 



Marlins Re-Sign Kevin Slowey

The Marlins have re-signed right-hander Kevin Slowey to a minor league deal, according to Baseball America's Matt Eddy (on Twitter). Slowey is a client of Relativity Baseball (formerly known as SFX).

The 29-year-old Slowey pitched 92 1/3 innings for the Marlins in 2013, posting a 4.11 ERA with 7.4 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a minuscule 28.7 percent ground-ball rate. Slowey has always been an extreme fly-ball pitcher but has long boasted elite command as well, as evidenced by his career 1.5 BB/9 rate. Last season marked his first big league action in a uniform other than that of the Minnesota Twins, who selected him out of Winthrop University in the second round of the 2005 draft.

Slowey will face an uphill battle to earn another rotation spot in Miami, as Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner all figure to be locks. He will have competition in the form of Tom Koehler and Brian Flynn, with top prospects such as Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino not far behind.

Eddy also reports that Miami signed right-hander Craig Westcott and lefty Jose Gonzalez. The 27-year-old Westcott posted a 4.19 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 144 innings for the Giants' Double-A affiliate in 2013. Gonzalez, 23, posted a 5.17 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 54 innings of relief across High-A and Double-A with the Twins last season and yielded a .276/.364/.442 batting line to his opponents.


Minor Moves: Slowey, Rapada, Orioles, Marlins

Here are today's minor moves and outrights from around the league…

  • In addition to the names mentioned below, the Marlins announced that they outrighted right-hander Kevin Slowey, lefty Zach Phillips and catcher Koyie Hill. Of this most recent trio, Slowey is the most notable. The former Twin and Indian hurled 92 1/3 innings of 4.11 ERA ball with 7.4 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. The 29-year-old's 28.7 percent ground-ball rate makes him among the game's most extreme fly-ball pitchers. Slowey projected to earn $1.8MM via arbitration this offseason, according to MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. Phillips, 26, posted a strong 2.44 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 59 Triple-A innings this season. Hill, 34, hit .155/.183/.190 in 61 plate appearances for the Fish. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted that both Slowey and Hill were non-tender candidates last week.
  • The Indians outrighted lefty Clay Rapada today after he was designated for assignment last week, the team announced. Rapada, 32, pitched to a 1.12 ERA with 20 strikeouts and nine walks in 24 innings at Triple-A Columbus while in the Cleveland organization. He held lefties to a .188/.240/.261 batting line in the minors this season.
  • The Orioles have re-signed two of their minor league free agents, right-hander Marcel Prado and infielder/outfielder Garabez Rosa, according to Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com (on Twitter). Prado, 25, was sharp was sharp in 56 2/3 innings between High-A add Double-A, posting a 2.38 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. Rosa's numbers were less impressive, as the 23-year-old batted .276/.291/.374 with six homers in 477 plate appearances.
  • The Marlins have outrighted right-handers Steve Ames and Jose Ceda, first baseman Joe Mahoney, infielder Gil Velazquez Triple-A New Orleans, according to the team's transactions page. The 25-year-old Ames was one of three pitchers the Fish acquired from the Dodgers for Ricky Nolasco and the second who was waived since season's end (the Angels claimed Josh Wall last week). The 25-year-old allowed two runs in four big league innings and posted a 3.69 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 46 1/3 Triple-A innings this season. Ceda pitched just four minor league innings in an injury-plagues season. Mahoney hit .190/.200/.262 in 200 Triple-A plate appearances. The 33-year-old Velazquez hit .254/.350/.278 in 392 Triple-A plate appearances between the Yankees and Marlins.
  • As can be seen in MLBTR's DFA TrackerVictor Marte of the Cardinals is the only player that is currently in DFA limbo.

Trade Candidate: Kevin Slowey

It's never fun to punt a season, as the Marlins decided to do before the 2013 campaign began.  But one silver lining is the ability to offer more opportunity to minor league free agents.  29-year-old righty Kevin Slowey is one such example, and he's rewarded the team with a 1.81 ERA through seven starts after joining the organization on a minor league deal.  He was a contributing member of the Twins' rotation as recently as 2010 despite missing time with an elbow and triceps injury, but then things took a turn.

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Slowey failed to make the Twins' rotation out of camp in 2011, and then quickly hit the DL with a shoulder strain.  After returning from that, he missed time with an abdomen strain, expressed displeasure with working as a reliever, and pitched in the minors before finally rejoining the rotation in August of that year.  With a non-tender looming, Slowey was shipped to Colorado during the offseason, and then traded to the Indians shortly thereafter.  He was unable to crack the Indians rotation out of camp in 2012, and missed most of the season with a stress fracture in his rib cage.  He was removed from the Indians' 40-man roster in October, pitched in the Dominican Winter League, and signed a minor league deal with the Marlins in January of this year.  This time Slowey did win a rotation spot out of Spring Training, which was further solidified with injuries to Henderson Alvarez and Nate Eovaldi.

After seven starts this year, Slowey ranks sixth in the National League with a 1.81 ERA.  His control has always been stellar, leading to a seventh-ranked 4.5 K/BB ratio so far.  Though he's never averaged six innings per start in a season, Slowey is at nearly 6.4 this year.  Aside from his injury history, the biggest concern with Slowey is his flyball tendency.  His 32.3% groundball rate is the fourth-lowest in all of baseball, and he's benefited from one of the least homer-happy ballparks in the game (though he's pitched well in all three starts on the road).

The Marlins are playing .300 baseball, so why shouldn't they move Slowey?  One reason is that he'll be arbitration eligible after this season, and therefore under team control for 2014.  Given his $750K salary – barely above the league minimum – trading Slowey now would not be a cost-cutting move.  It'd simply be a way of cashing in a 29-year-old off to a hot start for at least one credible prospect.  Slowey has his flaws, but he'd fit well with teams like the Giants or Pirates come the July trade deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Marlins Sign Kevin Slowey, Mitch Talbot

We'll track the day's minor moves right here…

  • The Marlins signed Kevin Slowey to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, writes Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald. The 28-year-old right-hander was limited to eight minor league starts in 2012 thanks to a stress fracture in his rib cage. Slowey enjoyed success prior to his injury as a member of the Twins' rotation from 2008-2010. Over the course of his five season tenure with the team, Slowey posted a 4.66 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9.
  • Miami also struck a deal with Mitch Talbot, who received a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, says Spencer. Talbot, 29, returns stateside after spending the 2012 season pitching for the Samsung Lions where he posted a 3.97 ERA over 138 innings. The right-hander last pitched in the big leagues in 2011 where he struggled with his H/9 (12.7) along with giving up home runs in limited innings. 

Quick Hits: Cabrera, Slowey, Cardinals, Marlins

The Blue Jays continued adding to their roster today, agreeing to terms with free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera on a two-year contract worth $16MM. Here are some links from around MLB, starting with Cabrera…

  • The Indians had interest in Cabrera before he agreed to terms in Toronto, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter).
  • Not surprisingly, the Giants weren’t interested, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter). Instead, the Giants remain focused on re-signing Angel Pagan, Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports.
  • Right-hander Kevin Slowey, who spent this past season pitching for the Indians' Triple-A team, is generating some interest as a free agent, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The 28-year-old hit free agency earlier in the month.
  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said he expects to tender contracts to all of the team’s remaining arbitration eligible players, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter). The Cardinals recently released Kyle McClellan, but their arbitration class doesn't include other non-tender candidates.
  • Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel explains how agent David Sloane worked around the Marlins' policy of not granting no-trade clauses to make sure that Carlos Delgado wouldn't pay higher taxes if moved. Former Marlins players such as Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle face different tax laws in Toronto than they did in Miami.

Minor Moves: Mock, Burke, Maier, Slowey, Ford

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves…

  • The Diamondbacks have signed Garrett Mock to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The 29-year-old right-hander posted a 3.79 ERA in 61 2/3 relief innings in Triple-A this season.
  • The Mets have signed right-hander Greg Burke to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, the team announced (on Twitter). Burke, 30, pitched to a 1.53 ERA in 64 2/3 relief innings in Triple-A this year.
  • Indians right-hander Kevin Slowey has elected free agency, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.  The 28-year-old spent 2012 with Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate.
  • The Red Sox have signed Mitch Maier to a minor league deal, reports Baseball America’s Matt Eddy (on Twitter). The 30-year-old outfielder hit .172/.260/.313 in 74 plate appearances for the Royals this year.
  • The Pirates have signed Darren Ford to a minor league pact, reports Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The 27-year-old outfielder hit .273/.326/.385 with 26 steals in 329 Triple-A plate appearances this year.
  • The Pirates have signed infielder Jared Goedert to a minor league deal, reports Rosenthal (on Twitter). The 27-year-old hit .311/.373/.502 with 19 homers in 504 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A this season.
  • The Royals have agreed to re-sign catcher Manny Pina to a minor league contract, reports Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star (on Twitter). Pina, 25, hit .278/.415/.417 in 183 minor league plate appearances this summer. Dutton notes that he will be exposed in next month’s Rule 5 Draft.

Outrighted To Triple-A: Slowey, Rottino, Kelly

We'll track the latest outright assignments here…

  • The Indians outrighted Kevin Slowey and Vinny Rottino off of their 40-man roster to Triple-A, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter). Slowey had been a non-tender candidate after spending the 2012 season in the minor leagues. Rottino appeared in 36 games for the Mets and Indians this past season, hitting three homers and posting a .560 OPS.
  • The Tigers announced that they outrighted Don Kelly to Triple-A Toledo. The utility player will elect free agency instead of accepting the assignment, according to the team. Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski said yesterday that Kelly would lose his 40-man roster spot. The 32-year-old played all three outfield positions and every infield position except shortstop this past season, posting a .523 OPS in 127 plate appearances. LSW Baseball represents Kelly.